Secret Santa DIY budget gift ideas

With the holidays coming up it is time to start planning those gifts for friends and family. Gifts on a budget can still be fun and creative. Here are some Christmas gift ideas that are pocket friendly.

The videos for most can be found on our YouTube play list

Personalized Coffee Mug

Avid coffee and tea drinkers have their favorite mug that they use in the mornings and don’t want anybody else to use so why not personalize a mug for that family member or friend. With a few simple steps this item can be paired with candy or packets of their favorite drink inside and its just 3 simple steps.

1. Decorate ceramic mug (light color) with Sharpie (permanent marker):Darker colors stay truer to actual color and some colors may darken or change. Make heavy lines and avoid smudging.

2. Bake mug in the oven at 425 for 30 minutes

3. Turn off oven and let cool inside so it doesn’t crack. Check with finger to make sure color is baked on and isn’t coming off.


Custom canvas picture

Pictures can be great gifts for people who like to decorate and have sentimental items around their home. To turn your regular photo into a large canvas portrait all you need to do is follow a few steps.

1. Pick a picture. You want to try to use one of good digital quality so that when you take it to be blown up and reprinted it won’t be of bad quality. Take the picture to any photo shop and ask for the size you want. The photo example is 4 feet by 3 feet (the largest they could make it).

2. Buy a large foam board. You can purchase it from Home Depot or Lowes (the kind used to insulate houses)

3. Measure the picture against the board and cut off extra. You will need a sharp knife. A mat knife was used for this example but the author said an electric knife (used to cut turkeys) gives a cleaner edge.

4. Attach the picture to the board. Use craft paint or duct tape on the edges, spray glue to adhere the whole picture. Do NOT try to spray paint the board it will eat away at the styrofoam, or use mod podge or flimsy paper it will cause it to wrinkle.

For more in depth instructions go to Sugar Bee Crafts page


Hand Painted Ornament

Personalized ornaments are a great way to be creative with Christmas tree decorations. Some people even have ornament parties where you make your own ornaments and have fun with all your loved ones at the same time. You can make any design you want but Little Gray Fox has a couple ideas.


  • Clear ornament bulbs that can be purchased at most stores, plastic or glass. (Warning one year we used glass and my Yorkie has a habit of taking them down or going under the tree to sleep and accidently knocking them down big mess when glass breaks)
  • Paint (acrylic will be thicker)
  • Paint brushes
  • Any other decoration ie glitter, yarn, pearls

Just be creative. Below is a Penguin from above link to Little Gray fox blog



You can find a traditional stocking in most stores to decorate  and give as a gift but you can also very easily make a stocking with any type of fabric. If you buy a plain stocking just go crazy with glitter, paint and anything you can get to stick on the material to personalize it. Thrifty Ninja made a stocking out of a pair of old jeans.


  • material for stocking
  •  scissors
  • sewing machine, needle and thread or fabric glue
  • old stocking to use as template or template of some sort
  • paper for stencil


1. Trace the template you want to use whether it be a stocking you already have or the shape you want and think the stocking should be.

2. Next you want to cut out your stocking shape.  Cut just slightly bigger than your pattern for the seam allowance.  Cut one then flip the pattern over to cut your second.  You want your pattern to line up correctly when you sew, if you forget to flip the pattern over, you will have one side that is inside out!

3. Place your two stocking pieces, right sides together.  Pin the pieces together.  Sew along the edges or glue. If you use glue let it dry then  turn right-side out and you are done!  How easy was that.

Get creative with the patterns used and to make a hook just cut a thin piece and attach to the side.